Contrary to what many people believe, just because you failed a Breathalyzer test it does not mean that all hope is lost. Breathalyzer tests are a useful tool for law enforcement to help confirm a police officer’s suspicion that someone is driving drunk. However, these tests are not infallible. An experienced DUI attorney knows that there are a number of defenses that can be used.
The Breathalyzer wasn’t reliable
Your Breathalyzer sample may have been contaminated because of the presence of foreign substances. Substances present in the mouth that contain alcohol can produce false positives because the amount of alcohol vapor they emit may be more than the amount of alcohol exhaled from your lungs. For example, mouthwashes and breath fresheners contain alcohol and can corrupt readings. Conditions such as diabetes and GERD can also lead to false results.
The Breathalyzer wasn’t properly calibrated
A Breathalyzer must be calibrated correctly in order to provide accurate results. Police officers are supposed to perform regular maintenance on their Breathalyzer machines and are supposed to calibrate them on a predetermined schedule. If the device is not properly maintained and not calibrated as often as recommended, it can produce unreliable results that may be called into question in court.
The Breathalyzer test was improperly administered
In order to administer a Breathalyzer test correctly, a police officer must undergo specialized training. The results can be challenged if the person conducting the test does not have the proper certification. There are also specific guidelines the officer must follow when administering the test and if the officer does not follow this strict protocol, the results can be challenged in court.
The Breathalyzer was administered after an illegal stop
The Fourth Amendment requires that a police officer have a valid reason for pulling you over on the road. If the police did not have a legal reason to stop you, for instance, reasonable suspicion that you were driving under the influence, then any evidence gathered after the stop could be suppressed. This includes the result of a Breathalyzer test. Regardless of whether the stop was illegal, however, your Breathalyzer results can be used in an administrative proceeding.
You weren’t advised of your rights before taking the Breathalyzer test
In Maryland, before a DUI suspect can be asked to take a Breathalyzer test, suspects must be fully advised of their rights. These rights are known as the “DR-15” rights. If you are arrested for DUI, you will be given a form to read, or the officer will read the form to you. You will then sign the form indicating that you were made aware of your rights. If the evidence shows that the form was not read and signed prior to you taking the Breathalyzer test, the test results may be suppressed in court.
Contact an attorney
If you failed a Breathalyzer test you need an attorney who can find the means necessary to challenge those test results. The attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC will ask the right questions and put together the best defense possible. Contact us online or call 866-444-6363 for a free consultation.